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Now Available From Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Calthraca: Adamare


Hecate returned to Adama’s chamber door and quietly tried the lock, already certain it was barred. There had been no movement or noise from the room since she’d heard the singing earlier. Perhaps Adama was asleep?

She knew she would be able to easily enter any time she liked, and soon Adama would be fully under her control. She liked to take her victims when they were asleep. Disoriented, they tended to resist less.

Footsteps coming towards her forced her to fade back in the shadows.

It was the Andalosian.

He walked up to Adama’s door, tried the lock, looking about as he did so, and then sat down with his back against the door and pulled his cloak about himself. Apparently he was going to spend the night.

Very well, thought Hecate, you get this night with her. Hecate returned to Sartos, reported what she saw and both of them plotted into the night, refining their evil plans.

* * * *

Adama awoke to someone crying, and immediately realized it was her own cries she heard. The dream again. She had always suffered from incredibly vivid and prophetic dreams. She had vainly hoped that having Oma near her would dispel the dreams, but she knew now that wasn’t to be. She had to send her daughter away again; she felt her throat tighten painfully at the thought.

Sudden pounding on the door brought her fully conscious and she knew that she was no longer dreaming. Someone was trying to get in.

She looked around for her robe, and pulled it on, rushed to her door and said, “Who’s there?"

“Adama let me in!” Christian nearly shouted.

She fumbled the latch on the door, and it burst open.

“What’s wrong?” Christian tried to look everywhere at once.

“I…what?” said Adama, who’d narrowly avoided being hit with the door.

“I heard you cry out, you screamed and didn’t answer me at first, and I thought you were hurt or someone was killing you,” Christian explained.

“I was dreaming. I had a horrible nightmare. What time is it?” She ran her hands through her hair and pulled it back from her face. “What were you doing outside my door?”

“I’m not sure, nearly dawn I think,” Christian said, still trying to both wake up and comprehend there was no imminent danger. “I was sleeping outside your door.”

“Why would you do that?” she demanded.

“I heard someone out here earlier.”

Surprising him with her strength, Adama pulled Christian into the room all the way and stuck her head out to see if anyone was around. She saw three or four maids looking in her direction; she then closed the door and locked it again.

“What do you mean you heard someone out here?” she spoke sharply.

“I heard someone earlier when you were singing to Oma. I decided to sleep here just in case you were being watched,” Christian said.

“Dammit Chris!” Adama said, outraged. “You left Oma alone?”

“No…” Chris started. “I just…”

“You worried about me more than my daughter,” Adama said flatly.

“No, I just knew that she was well protected, and…”

“That poor Adama couldn’t take care of herself, right?” Adama said venomously, Christian could see that dangerous light in Adama’s eyes.

“No! Not at all! I just worried about you. I wanted to be here to help if you needed me,” Chris ended lamely, knowing it wouldn’t be enough. He’d seen her angry before.

Adama crossed the room to the tapestried wall. She threw back the panel and started down the passage to check for herself.

“Adama, wait!” said Christian “I’ll go.”

He entered the passageway, ducking his head. He returned a few moments later. “All is well, Adama, I swear it.”

She looked at him. “You have to leave.”

“What? I just arrived! I’m not leaving.”

“Please, I need you to take Oma and leave, Christian,”she repeated.

“Would you mind at least explaining why, Your Majesty?” Christian demanded hotly.

“There is danger here, Christian. None of us are safe. If you will just take Oma, bring her somewhere safe, perhaps to your superiors in Tourn? I will send for you when the danger has passed. You are the only person besides myself that I trust with her life.”

Christian closed his eyes and shook his head in frustration. “Adama, I am not leaving you again. I think that the strain of your mother’s illness and your separation from Oma has made you imagine dangers which are not there.”

Adama clenched her fists at her sides, willing herself to remain calm.He could be so stubborn it drove her to distraction.

“Christian. I am not overwrought. You know as well as I do, when I have dreams like these they come true. It is not just my imagination. Please, save my daughter, save yourself. I am begging you, Chris,” she pleaded, knowing it would do no good. He was implacable when he set his mind to something. She could tell by his squared shoulders and set jaw that he would need more than her pleas to make him go this time. He would need serious convincing.

She took his arm, concentrated, and sent him a powerful image from her dream.

He yelped and pulled away from her. He hated it when she used her magic upon him.

“It isn’t safe here, for you or for her. Something badis coming, I keep dreaming of pain and loss. I know I am in great danger, and I think anyone who loves me may be in danger as well,” she finished.

“Adama,” he said with finality, “I’m not leaving. I can protect you both.”

Adama knew what she was about to say would irrevocably hurt him. The thought made her sick to her stomach, but she said it anyway. “The way you protected me when I was attacked?”

He looked as though she’d slapped him, and his mouth literally hung open, shocked at her words. She continued on even though hurting him this way felt like a knife to her belly. Something told her she must drive him away, force him from her side, no matter the cost, or his life and Oma’s would be forfeited. “Christian, I’m ordering you to go. Take Oma, see her safe.”

He’d managed to regain his composure. A deep burning anger and shame welled up within him, turning his fair complexion scarlet. He’d always known she blamed him for her attack, despite her words to the contrary.

“Ordering me?” he asked tightly. Two hot patches burned on his cheeks, and his voice sounded somewhat strangled.


He nodded. “Then I shall do it, but understand this, Adama Fawkes, it ends here. I renounce my citizenship, I claim Andalos as my home, not Lyros. I’ll see your daughter safe, because your family once did me a great favor by giving me opportunities I would not have had, but after this we are even.”

She swallowed hard but said nothing. He was angrier than she’d ever seen him.

Christian turned and left the room through the front door, slamming it hard behind him. Adama still didn’t look, though her heart cried out to him. She’d hurt him badly, but it was the only way to make him go. The only way to save both him and Oma. She slowly sank into a nearby chair, knowing her legs would no longer support her, then lowered her face to her hands and wept at what she’d had to do.